Introduction: How to Take Control of Diabetes! (Type2)

For those with diabetes, like myself, taking control of diabetes can be a daunting task.
But with a few techniques and some fun creativity you can conquer and overcome.
It is my goal to give you some great advice and some fun methods of controlling your blood sugar; because if you don't take care of your blood sugar you can have many bad side effects.

For those without diabetes - you may want to take some of the advice on this Instructable.
Did you know that an estimated 285 million people, corresponding to 6.4% of the world's adult population, will live with diabetes in 2010.
In the United States: every hour, more than 4,000 cases will be diagnosed, and more than 800 of them will die. Over 50 people will go blind, while 120 will have to undergo kidney transplant or dialysis.

The facts are startling and the consequences painful. Diabetes is becoming an epidemic.
So, here are some ways to help your body out and either control your sugar or prevent diabetes.

Step 1: Check Your Blood Sugar! Become Aware!

The most important step for people who are already diabetic is to check your blood sugar often.
I know the more I check my blood the better I am motivated to be healthy and take care of myself. Plus I will know how to take care of myself depending on where my blood is at.

A healthy level for blood sugar is between 70 and 130
If your blood sugar is below 70 drink 8oz of 100%fruit juice or a small candy or some bread.
if your blood sugar is in average ranges pat yourself on the back!
if your blood sugar is high go exercise!

I recommend checking your blood sugar before meals and 1 hour after meals. Or, at least 3 times a day - once in the morning, once in the afternoon, and once in the evening. Or, a combination of the 2.

It is important to check with your Doctor on everything related to your blood and how you control it.
Your doctor may recommend taking a medication such as Metformin in addition to healthy eating and exercise.
It is what I do when I am sick because stress can mess with my blood sugar. Or, if you are just starting out on controlling your blood sugar they might recommend pills to help get you down to a healthy level and stay there. If you are taking pills be consistent with what the doctor tells you to do.

If you don't have diabetes or if you don't know  if you have diabetes (1 in 3 people with diabetes don't know they have diabetes. That is about 5.7 Million people in the US). It is good to be informed and aware of the symptoms.

Diabetic symptoms include:
Frequent urination
Unusual thirst
Extreme hunger
Unusual weight loss
Extreme fatigue and Irritability
Frequent infections
Blurred vision
Cuts/bruises that are slow to heal
Tingling/numbness in the hands/feet
Recurring skin, gum, or bladder infections

and sometimes people with type 2 diabetes have no symptoms.

Step 2: Exercise / Physical Activity!

I find the thing that keeps my blood sugar down in normal ranges the best and the thing that brings my blood down when it is high is exercise!
Whether it is walking the dog for 30 minutes, going down to the gym and running on the machines or lifting weights, or skateboarding; there are many different ways to exercise. Maybe try taking a karate class! Or one of those Extreme fit or Dance aerobics classes!
Whatever you choose - if you are doing 30 minutes of exercise 3 to 5 times a week your body will thank you and your blood sugars will look amazing!

Step 3: Choosing Good Food! (Making It Fun!)

You can do all the exercise in the world but if you eat fast food all the time you will still have high blood sugar and probably end up with sexual dysfunctions or failing kidneys.
Eating Healthy is another key part of controlling your blood sugar. The main thing to it - is to make sure to have fun with your food!
Eating well doesn't have to be boring or tasteless.
Here are some simple switches and things to add to make your body love you even more!

#1 As far as carbs go - switch to Whole Wheat and Whole grain or No Wheat / All Whole grain breads. Also, switch to eating brown rice instead of white rice.
Carbs are good and healthy. They help your body absorb protein - the main thing is to get the correct types of carbs. Whole Wheat (WW) and Brown Rice have a much lower affect on your blood sugar and taste better! 

#2 Incorporate greens to every meal. The addition of greens - especially dark leafy greens get you a lot of essential vitamins and will help so you become more full and won't eat too much!

#3 SPICES and SAUCES and FUN (Oh My!)
     Salads, beans, chicken, rice, and many other dishes are boring by themselves.
Add some fun zesty exciting flavors to make eating healthy fun!
for chicken maybe some Mexican flair with Chile powder, cumin, pepper, and onions.
or - I love Lemon and Thyme chicken. (Sara got that recipe from the Diabetic Living magazine.)
Garlic is a staple! Maybe add a Thai or Indian or Italian kick to something.

#4 Find fun recipes and modify recipes you love.
The key to eating well is to find foods you love. I subscribe to Diabetic Living and Cooking Light. Both great magazines. They have recipes that are good and good for diabetics. Or, If there is a recipe that isn't diabetic friendly, be creative and make an alternative.
Do you love Chicken Parmesan? Make it healthier by making your own bread crumb outer layer with whole wheat bread. Use whole wheat noodles for a dish on the side.
Do you love Thai Food? Stores don't sell brown rice noodles. Make your own brown rice noodles!
Use that recipe - but use brown long grain rice instead of white long grain rice.
Then make a pad thai sauce!

There is a fun diabetic alternative out there for all sorts of foods! Have fun being creative and altering recipes to include ingredients that will make your blood sugar happy!

Also - be on the lookout for a cook book I will be releasing!

Step 4: Find Support!

Being diagnosed as diabetic can be difficult and sometimes depressing. It can evoke emotions from anger and tears to rage.
But, we do not have to live as victims to diabetes!
The last main thing to taking control of diabetes is having somebody make the lifestyle changes with you and support you.
For me, that is my fiance. She eats the same food as I do and helps encourage me when I am feeling down about my blood. It is easier to make the positive changes if you have somebody to keep you motivated and accountable. Plus, two minds are greater than one and she comes up with some amazingly creative food ideas.
If you don't have somebody in your family or close friends who can support you this way - find a support group! They are out there for everybody of all circumstances and there are groups in all states for people with diabetes.

Step 5: Enjoy the Success of Taking Control of Diabetes!

If you have diabetes and follow these tips your blood sugar should start looking amazing.
It may take a few months to get it right - and you may fall off the band wagon sometimes (I know I do) - but it will be amazing.
Your A1C should hopefully start to become 7% or below,
You will prevent nasty diabetic complications such as:
Heart Disease and Stroke, Nerve Damage, Blindness, Kidney Damage, gum Disease, Sleep Apnea, Skin infections, High blood pressure, Ketoacidosis, Kidney Disease, ED, and other things.
And - with all the exercise and good food hopefully lose some weight and feel more energetic and in a better mood!

If you don't have diabetes but follow these tips you will be setting yourself up for the success of not having diabetes and being a more healthy person.

So, Next time you take your A1C and it is amazing - how about making a smoothie to celebrate!
 Best of luck to you! And I know you will do amazing at taking care of your blood!

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